Only Rumsfeld Could Go To China

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld touched down in Beijing Tuesday for his much-hyped trip to China—a country whose relationship with the United States he characterizes as having had “ups and downs.” Talking to reporters on his trip, he said that the 2001 crash of a US Navy EP-3 on China’s Hainan Island—and the subsequent detention of its crew by the Chinese—led to a freeze of military cooperation that has only recently thawed. He pointed to more high-level military exchanges and ship visits as evidence of the thaw, as well as China’s critical role in the Six Party Talks concerning North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. He also called for more disclosure on China’s booming defense budget, saying the US wants to see the country engage the world “in a peaceful and constructive way.”